One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, “Purple Cow”

I love performing and writing music that is honest, speaks to where I am as an artist and hopefully connects to someone. Lately I have been thinking about how I can make my songs and performances more entertaining and exciting. It’s hard enough to put out an album or go on tour with a major or indie label behind you let alone to go out and do it by your lonesome as an unsigned indie artist.

I try not to think about that and just be fearless and do what I love as much as I can. The most important thing I have found to keep myself on my path is to continually renew my motivation and inspiration by finding out about other peoples stories and success.

A few week weeks ago Derek Sivers, whom many of you know as the founder of CDBaby but he also has an incredible blog, sent out an opportunity to his subscribers. If you were a working musician and had a blog you could reply back, tell him about yourself and he would choose a few people to send out copies of some of Seth Godin’s and Hugh MacLeods books. I have a reading list a mile long but Godin’s have been high on the list for a year! I applied and was chosen as one of two to read Godin’s box set and blog about how I could use those techniques and apply them to my music career. I was already slightly familiar with Godin’s ideas but really excited to get the books and dig in. I'll be blogging about each of them over the next few days so please stop back to read and reply to more.

I started with “Purple Cow” which talks about how by creating a remarkable product that fills a small niche you will have a much better chance at success. I had been trying to figure out the trick to it all (success) for a few months. Thinking about how to write songs that would be more popular and a show that would entertain more. The truth is I think I was getting away from what it is I do as a singer/songwriter and the truth of my music and performances.

A few months ago on tour someone got up and walked out of my show saying “shut up” because they felt I was talking too much between songs. I learned a few years ago that to be truly loved you have to be truly hated but I had never had to put it to use till that night. I thought about it a LOT as we drove around the country and I kept wrestling with trying to decide how much of my story is too much, how much of me is too much? But that’s exactly it, my story is my “Purple Cow.”

Being myself and balancing out the fear of being liked or not is what it came down to. Its GREAT to want to change and BE better but to put on a façade is a waste of your energy. A few weeks after the performance I had a showcase at one of the NACA conventions and just went in and did what I do best. Being me. Maybe even being MORE of me than I had been in a while. I wasn’t trying to be extra bubbly, friendly, nice or whatever. I didn’t even realize I was doing anything but I kept thinking for the past few months about why I had so much fun and that conference, made so many friends and booked so many shows. I realized it has to be because I was me. I had fun during my showcase, didn’t hide any of my political or religious views to try to tone it down for someone who wasn’t into that and actually left to see a movie with a friend when I felt a little burnt out from the conference.

It is a lot to realize that you and your story are remarkable in and of itself but you are. Trust that you’ll meet the people you need to, be where you need to be and everything will be okay. Just show up and be the best YOU.

At that show where someone walked out there were a lot of folks there to check out what I was doing. Some left and said I had a great voice, or they liked a particular song or something as they were leaving but with them were a handful that stuck around to meet me ask more about being on the road, street performing, the rollerblading tour and all my other stories that I share in between songs.

You can’t touch everyone the same way, as Godin says in “Purple Cow,” some people will get it, some will hate you for it and some just won’t care. The ones who do love my music and what I do will share it with friends and help me more if I am more of what they found unique in the first place. Eventually it will lead to more fans than if I tried to reach everyone by myself with a mediocre (waterd down) version of me.

It’s a slow process to build your fans or following of any product one at a time but just be the best version of yourself and write the best music you can and your going to have an easier time because your fans will spread and market it for you. Invest your time into what you loved doing and those same fans will be happier because of it. I know I sure would love to spend more time writing music and performing than thinking how much of a budget I have and deciding what to spend it on to market my tours and career. I love getting more from the brands and bands that I love too. So keep creating, honing what you do and finding your truth and you'll be fabulous. The more you do of that the more we will hate and love you and you'll have less people who just don't care either way.

All of that said thinking outside of the box in your marketing and physical products is really smart not to mention fun. I did some brainstorming about what would really exciting for me and for people at my show and in my promotions. I came up with some crazy ideas including one I might even use that I’m saving for now but I will run down some of the other outrageous ones in case they might amuse you or spur some ideas!

- Having live birds at a big show bring special VIP passes to randomly selected people at their seats. They could be passes for having dinner with me afterwards, coming backstage, or maybe even getting to write down a song request or message on the birds paper and sending it back to me up on stage to be performed or told.
- Riding a horse to my gigs (I would LOVE this one – if you have a horse and are near one of my upcoming shows PLEASE let me know!!).
- Performing on a flatbed truck in NY or even better - across the US. Maybe the tour path is mapped out and the whole thing is live streamed among multiple cameras (one of me performing, one of what I see, one of what the front of the truck sees). People can watch along and “travel” with me to places they have never been before.

I’m sure you have lots of ideas too about how/what you can do to be remarkable and exciting in just being you and having fun. Please share them in the comments or send me an email and I might share it in a blog no matter how far out there you think they are.

Don’t be afraid to be you and not just another colorful (or dull) fish in the sea. Being a “Purple Cow” in an ocean of fish will help you stand out and get noticed! You have to be remarkable if what your doing is going to get noticed because otherwise its just more noise - and most of all -

BE YOU.

I’m going to leave you with these quotes from the book that I love: “The Opposite of ‘Remarkable’ is ‘very good.’” “Are you making very good stuff? How fast can you stop?”

Leave a comment

    Add comment